Nevis City Council explores financing for future projects – Park Rapids Enterprise

Options to create a financial plan for future expenditures in the city of Nevis were discussed at the city council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Two of the major projects the city is looking at for the future are adding on to the fire hall and remodeling the liquor store.

Council member Blair Reuther suggested a financial commission could play an active role in this process.

“I think it’s time that we sat down and sorted out our finances,” he told the council. “Budgeting is fine, but that’s just for commitments we already made. Actual financing planning is needed to know what we have as a city for potential development. I’d like to look at establishing a financial commission that would set goals to review with the city council as we move towards the future.”

Mayor Jeanne Thompson said the city would need to work with a financial organization that is familiar with municipalities

“They understand the intricacies of the requirements cities are under for how they invest their dollars,” she said. “We can’t put our money into something that is possibly going to lose money.”

Thompson also said that she believes these financial issues would be best addressed with the entire council at the table, rather than by a financial commission.

A council workshop to discuss city finances will be held 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct 25 in the council chambers.

Deputy Oswald’s contract renewed

The council accepted the new law enforcement services agreement as presented for the services of Hubbard County Deputy Josh Oswald.

The three-year contract will pay Oswald $94,313 in 2024, $99,029 in 2025 and $103,980 in 2026.

It was reported that the 2024 salary is $4,491 more than the city paid for Oswald’s contract for law enforcement services in 2023.

“I think we get great coverage in the community and the school,” Thompson said.

Firefighters want to join PERA

Emily Mathisrud, president of Nevis Firepersons Relief Association, made a presentation to the council recommending they become part of the Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) for fire departments.

Benefits are that PERA takes care of the accounting and that firefighters who were with PERA in another department could transfer their retirement benefits when they come to Nevis.

Mathisrud said association members already voted to go this route. The council made a motion to finalize paperwork, so it will be formally approved at the next council meeting and can be submitted to PERA by Nov. 15.

Liquor store Sunday hours

Municipal liquor store manager Cindy Paulsen suggested opening the off-sale portion of the store at noon instead of 11 a.m. Sunday to save on staff costs. The bar already opens at noon.

Paulsen said Sunday sales from 11 a.m. to noon in the off-sale account for less than 1% of the day’s total sales.

Council member Sue Gray said some people may want to come at 11 a.m. to buy liquor before NFL football games start at noon.

Thompson said opening at 11 a.m. is a convenience for customers and could be advertised more.

The council approved a motion to explore winter hours next month and requested Paulsen bring a spreadsheet of Sunday sales from September through March to the next liquor committee meeting, along with the percentage the off-sale contributes to total sales.

The council also approved hiring two full-time bartenders and getting quotes on a point-of-sale system.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance that included adding RV parks requirements, removing shoreland ordinance requirements from Daisy Lake as it is no longer classified as a protected waterway by the Department of Natural Resources and removing a section about boardwalks as it is not applicable in the city.
  • Approved starting abatement proceedings on a property that has had repeated complaints for three years. A public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 in the council chambers, where the homeowner will have the opportunity to address the council.
  • Heard members of the fire department had auto extrication training and are exploring options for a used fire truck that carries more water at an estimated cost of $150,000 to $200,000. In comparison, a new truck costs $1 million or more.
  • Heard from Oswald that residents have shared concerns about visibility issues at Pleasant Ave. and County 2 near the school, where southbound traffic is hard to see due to parked cars. The council approved a motion to have Oswald work with the city maintenance department to extend the no-parking area there to improve safety for children crossing the street. The council also discussed similar issues with parking and visibility at the intersection of County 18 and County 2 with cars parked at Muskie Waters and Iron Horse and on Church Street.
  • Heard the city will be flushing hydrants Oct. 17-18.

The next council meeting will be Monday, Nov. 13 at city hall.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.


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